A businessman’s psychotically jealous ex-girlfriend threatens a tender relationship.
A catastrophic accident, the result of a derailed train, leaves Jake McAllister, only a young boy, fatherless. He’s haunted by nightmares of the accident until a beautiful girl shows up in his dreams and offers him the comfort he desperately needs. Years later, Jake grows up to be a wealthy businessman but becomes caught in a loveless relationship with heartless gold digger Elizabeth Carstairs. For baffling reasons, Jake is incapable of seeing the full depth of her depravity but also seems dimly aware of his lack of romantic enthusiasm for her. Meanwhile, in a parallel plotline, Yvette Corvell suffers a deep loss when her husband dies in a tragic car accident. She uses the insurance settlement money to buy a ranch in Arizona and start a new life with her daughter, nearly 5-year-old Brandi. One day a tire bursts on Yvette’s car, and she is serendipitously rescued by Jake. He soon realizes that Yvette is a dead ringer for the girl who starred in his youthful dreams. Once she is convinced Jake’s womanizing days are behind him, the two begin a relationship and fall deeply in love. But Elizabeth, bankrupt from maniacally profligate spending, refuses to let Jake go without a fight. While some edge is given to the story by Elizabeth’s chilling amorality, this is otherwise so sentimental a story it seems written for very young adults. Debut author O’Donnell is irresistibly drawn to ostentatious displays of treacly emotion. Brandi wonders out loud to a dinner table of adults if her mother plans to find her a new father soon: “Since she got me a new fish, can she get me a new daddy?” The plot’s pace happily quickens when Elizabeth starts scheming to destroy Yvette. The author turns out to be extremely adept at inventively capturing Elizabeth’s fathomless wickedness. The prose can be a bit simplistic and is hampered by punctuation errors (for example, “Robert Johnson, head of the land acquisition department said”). The book is impossibly precious, which is simultaneously its principal virtue and central vice.
More cute than romantic, this love story should appeal to young teens.